Grant Jerrett

Arizona forward Grant Jerrett entering NBA Draft


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Before the 2012-13 season began there were questions in regards to whether or not any of the three McDonald’s All-American big men joining the Arizona program would develop into a “one and done” player.

As the season rolled along the three freshmen, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski, had their moments, alternating impressive displays of skill with uneven outings that tend to be commonplace among most newcomers.

All three seemed on track to return to Tucson for their sophomore seasons, joining forces with Aaron Gordon to form one of the best front courts in the country.

However that “plan” has changed, as Jerrett will enter the 2013 NBA Draft.

Jerrett, a 6-10 forward with range out beyond the three-point line, averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in just over 17 minutes of action for the Wildcats.

Jerrett shot 40.9% from the field and 40.5% from beyond the arc this season, but given the production this decision is a bit of a stunner.  currently ranks Jerrett 25th among college freshmen.

“Today, with the support of my family, I made the decision to enter the 2013 NBA Draft and pursue my lifelong dream of playing professional basketball,” said Jerrett in a statement released by the school. “I would like to thank all Wildcat fans, my teammates and coaches for making my year in Tucson an incredible experience. I will forever be an Arizona Wildcat.”

So where does this leave Arizona next season? The Wildcats will be fine depth-wise, with Gordon (who is expected to play the three) joining Ashley, Tarczewski and Angelo Chol.

There’s also versatile wing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to factor into the discussion when looking at players who can grab the minutes available following the graduation of Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom.

Despite the amount of interior talent at Sean Miller’s disposal, this team having Jerrett as another option would only help Arizona. That won’t happen however, making the development of Ashley and Tarczewski this summer even more important.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.